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Thread: memoir query

  1. #11
    Fatema Karim
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    Re: memoir query

    Thanks Stan. This is, indeed, a memoir. Although, last night I was wondering, just to try to maintain my relationships with the other people in my life who I do care about, whether I should fictionalize my actual story.

    Like I said, this was my second attempt. Sorry if I forgot or was not aware of one of the cardinal rules about writing query letters. Thanks for the advice regarding what should or should not be in a query letter. I didn't think my letter was rambling. Maybe it's too personal for me to be able to think critically about it, but it didn't seem rambly.

    Also, for the record: First of all, I am not a troll, but a real person who wants to tell her story. Yes, for profit. Isn't it shocking that someone might be naive enough to think that they could make a few grands writing a book? My generally practical nature was short circuited by my sense of urgency. In the future I'll try to use my common sense.

    Secondly, I have started writing the damn thing. It's really rough too... but I'd like to share what I have and get feedback on it.



  2. #12
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    Re: memoir query

    I can't speak for marketability of memoirs versus fiction. I have never researched the memoir market. My advice would be to write it, not really worrying about the difference. Once written, research the markets and decide then.

    There's a Writing Craft Forum. You can post a page or two there for feedback. Just make sure the punctuation and spelling are as good as can be, so that people can see and comment on the story instead of concentrating on mechanical errors.

    Good luck,
    Stan

  3. #13
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    Fatema, I don't see a successful autobiography here until you reach the end of your quest. The ending of your book will be determined by whether you get the guy or not. The people who would buy this kind of memoir will want to know how it all ended. Who wants to read a book only to reach the end and realize, there's NO ending yet?

    Also, you can change the names of people in the book and still keep the factual events as they are.

    Why would you tell an agent that you have a lousy job history? I'm always fasinated by people who think that talking badly about themselves will get them sympathy, or help them to achieve what they want. If you want to achieve this goal, get through school, get a job, manage to keep the job, and THEN, worry about starting a relationship. What you said sounds like someone wanting to do something desperate without really thinking it through.

    Lastly, if this guy doesn't live in America, how in the world did you meet him and get to know him well enough to become engaged? And he has a girlfriend to boot? Please tell me you didn't meet him online and he started selling you a sob story and asking you for money. If so, can you spell g-u-l-l-i-b-l-e?

    Lea

  4. #14
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    Re: memoir query

    "Please tell me you didn't meet him online and he started selling you a sob story and asking you for money. If so, can you spell g-u-l-l-i-b-l-e?"

    That's really snarky and has nothing to do with her writing a Q letter.

  5. #15
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    Didn't mean for it to come across that way, I was concerned rather than trying to be snarky. But. . .unfortunately, her query was all about her personal history and self-admitted foolishness. I can't believe others read it and didn't think the same thing - or that an agent won't have the same thought, or rather, their intern. Let's be honest. As her query is written right now, the intern or assistant will look at it, think the writer needs some help in the personal life decision-making category, and pitch it.

    And my first three comments were about her query, as well as the status of her MS. I realize writers can send in a proposal for an incomplete non-fiction MS, but I don't think this one is even started. And a proposal for a memoir has to be more detailed, unlike a query. From what I've read, it's almost like a business proposal, has to contain a lot more information, and has to include which demographics the author thinks their MS will appeal to.

    Additionally, in her desperation to make money, it's obvious she doesn't understand that even if her MS is complete and she gets accepted by an agent tomorrow, and signed by a publisher the day after that, it will still be 12-18 months before her book is available for purchase. (In the traditional route anyway - I have no idea how long it would take otherwise.)

  6. #16
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    Re: memoir query

    "I realize writers can send in a proposal for an incomplete non-fiction MS, but I don't think this one is even started."

    I'm not 100% sure but I think memoirs (unless you're a celebrity) are pretty much treated the same as fiction. In other words, unlike non-fiction, it needs to be finished before you begin the submission process.

  7. #17
    Senior Member Lea Zalas's Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    Yeah, I haven't researched it a whole lot. Just read a few things here and there while researching for my fiction MS.

  8. #18
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    Re: memoir query

    Unless you are famous or have some other "platform," you have to complete your memoir exactly the way you do with fiction before you query.

    Obviously, if Angelina Jolie wants to sell a memoir, she doesn't have to write a single word to get the sale. Ditto for a guy like Sully Sullenburger who became instantly famous when he set that plane in the river. He could sell his memoir the next morning without writing so much as, "It was a dark and stormy night."

    But for most of us, you have to write the doggone book before anyone will talk to you.

  9. #19
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    Re: memoir query

    "Obviously, if Angelina Jolie wants to sell a memoir, she doesn't have to write a single word to get the sale."

    Or AFTER the sale.

  10. #20
    Senior Member Frank Baron's Avatar
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    Re: memoir query

    Well, her name - on the back of the 7-figure advance cheques....

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